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Offline vs Online Student Marketing – Which One Is For You?

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British American Group / 23.08.18 / Industry

When your task is to market a product to students (a group with infamously little cash to spare), you know you have to make smart choices concerning your overall strategy. Your first big decision is whether to go with offline or online marketing. There are good reasons to go with either one, and this quick breakdown will give you some guidance to help you figure out which you prefer.

Offline Marketing

In many ways, online marketing is what’s expected of a modern company, especially in the eyes of the younger crowd. If you diverge from that convention without a lot of vision and purpose, you risk having your company look like it’s behind the times. For that reason, choosing to do offline marketing in the digital age means that you have to go as big as your scope and budget allow you to. Handing out freebies like pens, notepads, stickers, or even larger items like baseball caps and T-shirts is a sure-fire way to win students’ good will. You could also try making an appearance at a local event, complete with a company prize sponsorship. Possibly the most involved approach combines the previous two – you can set up a full-fledged on-campus company event with games, seminars, giveaways, or whatever else you think suits the tone you want to set.

The main draw of this kind of offline marketing is the strong impact it has on your audience. Students are much more likely to remember how much fun they had at the big event you sponsored, or that they use your promotional pen every day, than they are to remember seeing your company’s name in passing without any specific image to attach it to. You can also take advantage of the real-time nature of this kind of marketing by taking the time to interact with the students in person. Not only can this help to forge a familiarity between them and your brand, but it may also reveal some interesting insights into what these potential customers want or need from your company. Intimate information like this can be difficult to get any other way; your competitors may not have the same level access to it if they choose other marketing routes. This means that you’ll enjoy a significant advantage over them in the market.

Online Marketing

Online marketing is offline marketing’s less bombastic but more pervasive counterpart, and that tameness matches some projects perfectly. Email marketing is a favourite strategy of companies everywhere; all you need to get started is a few email addresses for a subscriber list and a vision for the final campaign. It’s quick, relatively cheap, and rarely fails outright. The only downside is that it will almost never reach the level of effectiveness that more intricate marketing strategies can provide. You can also place ads or guest blog posts on student websites and digital student publications, mediums which are sure to be viewed by hundreds or even thousands of readers.

Online marketing is usually much cheaper than the offline kind, making it attractive to firms with tight budgets and those that aren’t ready to make such a large financial commitment with this demographic just yet. It’s also far easier to implement – instead of dealing with potential logistical issues of coordinating a big event, you simply insert a few advertisements on some web pages or collect a few emails to form the basis of your campaign. This is still work, to be sure, but it’s much less time-consuming and far more flexible work that can easily be pivoted into a new direction if any problems arise with the initial vision. If constraints are making other plans difficult to execute properly, online marketing can be an excellent solution.

Reaching students for marketing purposes is easier than ever is both a blessing and a curse: don’t let all your options trip you up! Both online and offline approaches have their benefits, so consider which is right for you when you’re planning your project to achieve the best results. Alternatively, why not try a combined marketing strategy of both online and offline aspects to accelerate your reach?